Competing for Islam’s Favor Against Ourselves
Posted by paulipoldie on May 26, 2010
Thanks to the Sultan for these insightful words:
After the war nothing changed much, except the names of the players. The competition itself however still went on. Instead of England and Germany competing for Islam’s favor, it was not the US and the USSR. Both sides cultivated patron Muslim countries, spent and lost huge sums of money on them, and then got a knife in the back for it, time and time again.
The US courted Saudi Arabia under the fanatical rule of the House of Saud, America’s oldest partner in the region. In return the Saudi royal family nationalized American oil companies (for which the US government compensated the companies with taxpayer dollars) and then used that money to fund a global Jihad, while the royals incidentally began buying up major chunks of America. 9/11 was only the topper on a large poisonous cake that had been baking in the febrile heat of the Saudi desert for a long time, as petrodollars fed fanatical Islamic pre-medieval beliefs that had been growing steadily more arrogant and insane in direct proportion to the amount of wealth flowing in.
The USSR tried to export Communism, but had to settle for backing the likes of Egyptian dictator Nasser, despite his casual slaughter of domestic Communists. The heap of corruption in Cairo was considered such a great prize that both the US and the USSR competed feverishly for it. The US betrayed England, France and Israel in 1956 by backing Nasser’s seizure of the Suez Canal and forcing their withdrawal through economic blackmail, an act that Eisenhower would later admit he deeply regretted. Nevertheless Nasser threw in with the USSR, which was the most willing to pile on the weapons exports.
But devotees of happy endings will be glad to hear that after losing several wars with those same weapons, the United States finally won the bidding war for one slightly used alliance with Egypt. At a cost of only a few billion dollars a year and turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christian Copts. And things have never been better. The Obama Administration recently slashed funds for promoting democracy in Egypt by 50 percent off. Which is a discount when you think about it, because 50 percent off Egyptian democracy is a bargain, when you consider that it’s an item much harder to find than platinum or gold.
When Obama visited Egypt’s Al Azhar University, he naturally made sure to praise it as a source of knowledge and enlightenment. He may or may not have had in mind one Al Azhar scholar who issued a Fatwa which said that a grown man and woman could be alone together, only if she breastfeeds him first. (This sort of radical reformism would not fly in Iran, where students of different sexes studying together are required to get temporarily married first, a procedure also used to legalize prostitute. One can only imagine what European educational systems will look like under Islam.)
But while the breastfeeding Fatwa may seem ridiculous, Al Azhar University is also the source of far less humorous fatwas. It also happens to be a source of terrorism and Islamic extremism. But don’t worry about your tax dollars going to indirectly fund terrorism. At least not if you’re British, because then your tax dollars are going directly to Al Azhar University, to run the The Al-Azhar English Training Centre (AAETC), whose mission is to “give students the skills to “discuss and explain Islam“. It is certainly generous of British taxpayers to be forced to underwrite training for Muslim missionaries, because the “Captain Hooks” of tomorrow can’t be expected to set up shop in Manchester with no English skills. But this program nevertheless needs to be praised for trying to teach Al Azhar graduates to promote Islam by speaking to people, instead of blowing them up or chopping off their heads.
This is what courting Islam looks like. A flattering speech here and there. Loose immigration policies. A terrorist set free by the British government in exchange for an oil deal. The US government turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s role in terrorism in exchange for more oil deals. The French government shaking its fist a little at a few rogue imams and then quieting down, hoping that the 5 million Muslims got the message, and will try and keep the car burning down on weekends, and then promoting a Mediterranean alliance, just as Russia is promoting a Bosporus alliance– as if Muslims would allow themselves to be ruled by non-Muslims for very long.
Madness? No, competition. The Muslim world has a lot of oil and a lot of people, and Western governments want the former, while keeping the latter peaceable. And that means competing for Islam’s favor with each other, with the newly resurgent Russia which is back to its old ways of shipping weapons by the fleet, China which is feeling its global oats and poking its head well beyond its borders now– but mostly the Muslims themselves.
Before WW1, Western European nations were competing with each other for the favor of Muslim rulers. Before WW2, England and Germany were competing for the favor of Muslim rulers with each other. During the Cold War, the US and the USSR were competing for the favor of Muslim rulers. But today the remnants of the civilized world are competing for the favor of Muslims, against the Muslims. In effect we’re bidding up against ourselves. Because the big threat today is no longer Western, it’s Islamic. The old competition was about forming alliances with the Muslim world against the enemy of the day. Today the enemy of the day is Muslim. That phantom menace we call “Islamic Extremism” if we’re feeling terribly politically correct, and “Islam” if we’re not.
If the old rivalries at least provided some rational justification for this gamesmanship, today it’s more like holding up a sign reading, “We’re nice. Please don’t kill us.” On paper we’re competing to uphold “moderate” Muslim regimes against the Islamists who would otherwise take over. Which means we’re competing with the Islamists to win the favor of Muslim rulers and populations. This is considered Realpolitik. Meanwhile the left argues that we’re only upholding dictators, and that if we stopped supporting them, the people would overthrown them, stop hating us and form socialist republics. The last time this was tried, the Carter Administration gave us Iran.
But of course this is only two sides of the same insane coin. Either we pacify the dictators, who already support Islamic terrorism, so that the real awful Islamist dictators won’t come to power… and then really support terrorism. Or we overthrow the dictators, and let the real awful Islamist dictators come to power, because maybe they’re not so bad after all. Maybe we can have an oil deal with them. And train some of them to explain Islam to us in good English, hopefully without chopping our heads off first.
And that right there is the problem. Our foreign policy is a debate between the realists who want appeasement, and the lunatics who think the natural outcome of every revolution is socialism, and even when it isn’t (as in the case of Iran) they’ll pretend it is anyway to avoid looking as stupid as they should feel. Of course there’s always a third option, and I don’t mean invading them, rebuilding them, and then withdrawing in time for them to adopt Sharia law. Stop competing. Stop courting the good opinion of a backward ideology that still thinks women are a form of inconvenient bacteria and that non-Muslims should always defer to Muslims. Stop pandering to them. Stop bowing and scraping to them. Stop giving them weapons, visas and then wondering what happens when the bombs begin going off.
Once upon a time we competed against each other, today we’re courting one side of the Muslim world’s schizophrenic split personality, against the other side. We approach the two-headed hound of Islam, and then argue over which head we should pat first, to keep the beast from biting us. It’s all one beast. And feeding scraps to one head or the other, won’t win us anything except more bites. The thing to do is to stop feeding the beast and stop being under the impression that there’s more than one hound in question. It’s all one animal. And it hates us. And it will go on hating us. And it will go on biting us for as long as we let it.
We are no longer bidding for the Muslim world as an ally. We are bidding to prevent it from being our enemy. But the problem is that the very people we’re bidding for, already see us as the enemy. We are not going to change that with free English lessons, weapons and speeches praising their enlightenment, and clapping with delight when one of their clerics sorta suggests that terrorism is probably wrong. We’re not children and we’re not cowards, and we should stop acting like both. By competing for Muslim favor, we are only bidding ourselves, and paying up to the very people who are our enemies. By competing for their favor, we are only undercutting ourselves.